Have you ever had jury duty? I was a lucky citizen that was chosen to serve my civic duty this week and next. Monday was a long, long day with a lot of sitting, waiting, and sitting some more- two things I don’t do well! Making it worst was the federal charges against the defendant were ridiculous and tax-payers’ money was spent to hear this trial. Without going in detail or disclosing how silly and crazy we thought these women were, day two was a little more exciting because we got to deliberate and unanimously give the “not guilty” verdict. It felt very official.
Interestingly enough, of the 13 jurors selected (they select one more than needed in case someone gets sick) 3 were teachers and then myself, a School Counselor. This random selection didn’t seem so random. Also interesting was out of the 7 panels called, there was only one African American woman and no men that weren’t Caucasian. That’s odd to me, especially now that I’m reading Just Mercy, a book about the injustices that occur in this country and the amount of African American men on death row. (A book recommended by the famous Glennon!)
Moving on, though, I cannot control that I was selected or if I am chosen to sit on a trial. I spent most of the day Monday and Tuesday thinking about the jury duty I was missing back at school because much of my time at school is spent sorting through lies, convoluted stories, and searching for evidence of the truth. The difference, however, is that these were adults whom were arguing about an event where no one was actually hurt. I know they both lied and both changed their stories and details throughout. Most annoying was they both acted like this was the most dramatic life event. How childish. How sad that they haven’t grown up yet.
Now kids are kids, and some need more help than others. With some students, they all need a little help sorting through how to make decisions and solve problems from time to time. But, then there are those who act incapable and get bent out of shape easily with every minor issue. It may be they’re not yet socially mature or confident enough. Could it be because they are simply getting poor guidance from home? Or worse and more likely is they’re simply getting no guidance or modeling at all. Whatever the reason, when children don’t learn to solve their own problems and learn to work through minor bumps in the road, they grow up to be adults who whine, sue, or freak out over minor issues too.
It’s time to let our kids grow up a little. Like many loving parents, I often times want to jump in when I hear of a problem with my kids, telling them what to do or wanting to solve it for them because I love them and don’t want them to be unhappy. But , I have to remind myself that some unpleasant feelings or uncertainties in life are normal. Not only are they normal, they are healthy and practice for real life! Some let-downs, disappointment, and even a little suffering won’t cause damage. In fact, it could do some good.
If children can accept a little rejection, some failure, or even a little disappointment, it makes them tougher. It makes kids more willing to take some reasonable risks when they don’t fear rejection. I believe it makes children a little nicer, actually, because they’re not used to always getting what they want and expect. In this litigious society, I wonder if some adults missed out on these little life lessons. If we would stop getting so bent out of shape for what I classify and call “little problems”, then we could appreciate and enjoy life a little more.
While some problems in life are ‘big’ and do cause a lot of true suffering, we need to teach our kids how to handle the ‘little’ ones. Before we jump into to give them help or jump to dramatic conclusions, we can help our kids by letting them help themselves. Kids feel really satisfied when they can tell me that they’ve solved or avoided a problem without help form an adult. It’s really rewarding. Let’s not be guilty of enabling our kids. And, let’s remind ourselves that some unpleasantness makes us all appreciate and enjoy the ‘little things’ a little more.